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Beautiful Lombard Lamp: Gift to City of Houston

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Detailing on a portion of the Lombard Lamp

Detailing on a portion of the Lombard Lamp

Lombard Lamp

The Lombard Lamp gracing Heights Boulevard in Houston, Texas, is a beauty! We have passed it while in our car many times, and one day we decided to take a closer look. We learned much by doing so!

Lombard Lamp on Heights Blvd. in Houston, Texas

Lombard Lamp on Heights Blvd. in Houston, Texas

Gift From the City of Hamburg

There is a Lombard Bridge in the City of Hamburg, Germany. Many such lamps as this one in Houston are installed along that bridge. They have been illuminating the bridge since the year 1869. There is a plaque on one side of the base of the lamp. Part of it shows the following:

“This Lombard Lamp is presented to the people of the City of Houston by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg so that it may forever brighten a bridge of friendship in human relations, trade, and commerce. March 1979”

Below is an old photo of the Lombard Bridge in Hamburg, Germany. If you look closely, you can see the lamps on the bridge.

Lombards Bridge Hamburg Germany - Photochrom Print Collection / Public domain

Lombards Bridge Hamburg Germany - Photochrom Print Collection / Public domain

The Houston Heights

Another plaque around the metal base of the lamp tells the following story regarding the Houston Heights.

“Houston Heights Historic Multiple Resource Area

Houston Heights, one of the first planned communities in the state, was founded in 1891. It was incorporated in 1896 and flourished as a separate municipality until 1918 when it was annexed by the City of Houston. The name, Houston Heights, was chosen to reflect the area’s 23-foot elevation and advantage over downtown Houston.

In 1983 the geographic area encompassing the old township of Houston Heights was designated a National Historic Multiple Resources Area by the United States Department of the Interior. Numerous properties within its boundaries are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.”

Melvalene and Carl Cohen Plaza

Many of the people living in the Heights have been active participants in its history. So it is with Melvalene and Carl Cohen who owned and operated a very successful grocery store. It was called the Studewood Food Market.

A small existing store at West 14th Avenue and Studewood Street was initially purchased. Then a much larger building took its place under their ownership and management. It became one of the largest of independently owned grocery stores in its day!

From what I have read, Mr. and Mrs. Cohen were brilliant business people. They were way ahead of their time in what they offered in their large 15,500 square foot grocery store.

It is not too unusual to see pharmacies, snack bars, and services such as payroll cashing in larger grocery stores today. But back in the late 1950s and 1960s, this was far from the norm. They eventually employed over 100 people. All kinds of special promotions such as visits from Santa Claus and Easter Egg Hunts were done. They even had occasional entertainment for their patrons, such as well known country singers.

It is no wonder that theirs was a favorite place for the 20 years that Cohen's operated that business!

Both of them were very active in their local community as well. The Cohen's are deserving of this plaza named in their honor. It was dedicated in 1999 and is maintained by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The spectacular Lombard Lamp is the central highlight of this plaza.

Melvalene & Carl Cohen Plaza with Lombard Lamp on Heights Blvd. in Houston

Melvalene & Carl Cohen Plaza with Lombard Lamp on Heights Blvd. in Houston


Sometimes it pays to get out of one’s vehicle, slow down and learn about things one sees in more detail. My husband and I are glad that we did. The stone sculpture atop the metal base with lamp rising above it is so pretty!

This Houston Heights area has so much to offer! There are the annual sculpture exhibits on Heights Boulevard. Just last Sunday, we attended another Bravura Concert Series at All Saints Catholic Church. These free concerts take place several times a year. From all kinds of unique shops to spotting murals or stopping for a bite to eat, the Houston Heights is a beautiful area in which to explore more of Houston.

You can find the Lombard Lamp at W 11th Street & Houston Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas 77008.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 13, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

That is very complimentary, and I appreciate your comment. I guess I am just an eternal student and enjoy learning about things like this Lombard Lamp, and the grocery store once owned by the Cohens.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 13, 2020:

Very ornate and beautiful. That grocery store was the local Walmart of its time. I’m glad history is being remembered by people like you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 12, 2020:

Hi C E Clark,

It is fun for me to learn about these items of interest as well as being able to pass it along to others.

We now have confirmed cases in Houston. Rice University is closed to students, and the Rodeo has canceled weeks ahead of time, etc. Many changes are coming about almost hourly with this coronavirus scare. Tests are still not widely available, so a spike in confirmed cases will happen as time passes. Hope you stay well!

C E Clark from North Texas on March 12, 2020:

So good of you to take the time to learn about these different things you then inform and teach the rest of us about. I appreciate it.

Hope all is well with you as I understand the Coronavirus has moved into Texas. Closer to me for the most part than you (a person has tested positive in Frisco just 45 minutes away), but it's unfortunately likely to spread a lot more before it's done.

Posting this article to FB & AH.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

I agree with you. This world of ours could be even more wonderful if we all respected each others cultures, etc. This lamp gift is beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2020:

Hi Liz,

Thanks for the compliment. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of effort to uncover interesting facts about things that we see.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 11, 2020:

The Lombard Lamp is truly beautiful. The history surrounding the gift from Germany is interesting as well. I wish all nations respected each other. What a wonderful world we would have. Thanks again for highlighting the beauty of Houston.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 11, 2020:

This is an interesting piece of investigative journalism. You are so right that we often drive past familiar places without taking the time to learn a little more about them. Your articles could form a book about the local area.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

So happy to be able to share this information with you and others. I appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

Yes, the Cohens were influential people in the Houston Heights. That lamp is a beauty with the cherubs at the base of it. Thanks for your comment.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 11, 2020:

I think the lamp is beautiful. The Cohens sound like great people.n This is a wonderful story.

manatita44 from london on March 11, 2020:

Looks like the Cohen's were visionaries by all accounts and the Hamburg Lights, is a very creative idea. So they blend well together. Are there angels or nymphs on the base of the lamps. A wonderful idea!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Gifts like this one from people from one city to another extend friendship in a beautiful manner.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 11, 2020:

A beautiful gift from beautiful people to beautiful people. Very cool!

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